Reclamation Law:

Changes to Excess Land Sales Will Generate Millions in Federal Revenues

RCED-90-100: Published: Feb 1, 1990. Publicly Released: Mar 9, 1990.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Bureau of Reclamation's management of the sale of excess land under recordable contracts that allowed landowners to irrigate their excess lands from federal water projects at subsidized rates.

GAO found that: (1) excess land buyers could obtain significant profits under current reclamation law, because they could buy the land at dry-land value and sell it at fair market value after 10 years; (2) federal water resources projects increased fair market values because of the availability of irrigation water; (3) the fair market value of the remaining 90,000 of the 121,000 acres of excess lands under recordable contracts that had pending sales actions would result in profits of as much as $206 million; and (4) the federal government could receive about $100 million of those profits if amendments to the current reclamation law required Bureau approval of the land's fair market value.

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